“Oh, Rimmer.” Lister’s voice was followed by a low rumble that was barely distinguishable from the usual thrumming of Starbug’s temperamental engines. A second, slightly higher pitched rumble joined the first as a cluster of entwined limbs shifted around in the bunk like a lazy octopus.
“Oh, Listy,” a nasal voice murmured from the tangle.
“Smeg, Rimmer.” Lister’s voice grew clearer as the vaguely human-shaped knot on the bunk began to unfurl. He moaned as he stretched himself out on top of the man beneath him. Lister’s white longjohns stood out in subtle contrast from the darkness of the room. “Love feelin’ you like this.” Lister’s voice was hoarse with desire as he ran his hands up and down Rimmer’s blue uniform. “Love feelin’ you close to me.”
Rimmer responded by sliding a hand to the back of Lister’s head, and kissing him heavily. He gasped as he pulled away, his lips quivering. “God, Lister. How did we ever manage without this?”
“You call what we were doin’ managing?” Lister said with a laugh as he rocked his hips into Rimmer’s pelvis.
“We must have been out of our smegging minds,” Rimmer sighed as Lister rubbed against him before his brows suddenly peaked into a frown. “Or maybe we’ve lost our minds now, and that’s why we’re together.”
“No,” said Lister matter of factly as he ran his hands down the hologram’s chest. “We’re together now because the pipes kept you up.”
“God I love those pipes,” Rimmer mumbled as he bit down on his lower lip. He tried to suppress a moan as Lister continued to rub against him. “I adore those pipes,” his voice became muffled as Lister leaned forward and kissed him. “I coumd smebbimg kimsf vem.” Their combined rumbles grew louder as they snogged and fumbled with each other’s clothing.
“Now you’ve got me to keep you up,” Lister said, his eyes twinkling mischievously.
Rimmer looked up at Lister wryly as he slowly traced his fingers along the outside of his thighs and began to worm them underneath the bunched up cloth of his longjohns. “As long as you keep wearing these ridiculous things, I’ll have no trouble keeping anything up.”
Lister chuckled as he fiddled with the clasps on Rimmer’s chest. “You almost make it too easy, man.”
“It took you years to get into my pants, Lister. I’d hardly call that easy.”
“I call that extended foreplay,” Lister grinned as he braced himself on the palms of his hands and lightly bounced on Rimmer’s thighs. “C’mon man, do the thing.”
“The thing?” Rimmer pulled a face as he attempted to look coy.
“C’moooooon,” Lister leaned forward and playfully bit at Rimmer’s neck.
“Mmmm… all right then.” Rimmer scrunched up his eyes in concentration and within seconds his clothing had completely melted away.
“Yeaaaaaah,” Lister pumped his fists before trailing his hands down Rimmer’s bare chest. “I don’t think that novelty’s ever going to wear off.”
“If it does, I’m sure I’ll come up with some other way to surprise you, Listy.” Rimmer hissed as Lister’s hands tickled trails around his nipples.
“Dunno about that. I’m pretty tough to surprise, Rimsy.”
“I can be very inventive,” Rimmer muttered into the skin of Lister’s shoulder as he pulled him down by the front of his longjohns so he could kiss a trail down his neck. Suddenly there was a familiar whooshing sound and Rimmer froze with his tongue on Lister’s Adam’s apple. “Was that the door?”
“Mmm?” Lister said distractedly as he threaded his fingers through the hologram’s hair and leaned his neck into the hologram’s mouth.
Rimmer turned anxiously and Lister huffed as Rimmer’s tongue lost contact with his skin. “Someone’s opened the door!”
“Wha’?” Lister squinted into the darkness. Sure enough, the door to their quarters had been opened and he could see out into the dimly lit corridor. “Smeggin’ hell.” He grumbled as he slid off of Rimmer and stumbled to the doorway. He poked his head out and looked both ways, but the corridor was deserted. “There’s nobody. Maybe the locks are on the blink? Lock!” The door slid shut without any trouble. Lister shrugged and climbed back onto Rimmer eagerly. “Now where were we?”
“Are you sure there was nobody out there?” Rimmer glanced towards the door nervously.
“I’m positive. Now c’mon Big Man,” Lister shifted in the bed, laying down on his back as he pulled Rimmer on top of him. “Show me just how big you are.” Rimmer growled as he bent down to nip at Lister’s neck. Lister was just starting to enjoy himself again when Rimmer straightened up, his voice panicky.
“Did you hear that?”
“What now, man?”
“I heard a noise. It sounded like one of the skutters. Did one of those little bastards sneak in here?” He squinted as he stared into the darkened room.
“Rimmer, there aren’t any skutters on Starbug. Would you calm the smeg down?”
“I just want to make sure this stays private.”
“What? You wouldn’t like an audience of skutters cheering you on? Clapping their little fingers in applause?”
“You’re a sick man, Lister.”
“I must be, to put up with you.” Even in the dark, Lister’s impish grin shone plainly.
“Ooh, you’ll pay for that one, mila…”
“Howdy doodly doo!”
“Agh!” Lister screamed, as patterns of bright red and green LEDs flashed chirpily in his face. He sprang up in fright, shoving Rimmer to the floor with a thud.
“What the smeg?” Rimmer winced as he rubbed at his elbow.
“It’s Talkie Toaster! Your cheerful breakfast companion! Remember me?”
“Lights!” Lister shrieked and the red toaster was brought into sharp focus. It was holding onto the edge of the bed with a pair of tiny metal arms, pulling itself closer to Lister.
“Would either of you boys like any toast?” Lister looked down and saw the toaster was balancing itself on two sets of small caterpillar tracks, almost like it was standing on tiptoe.
“It’s got a body, Rimmer! Why does it have a body?!” Lister grabbed the pillow, holding it in front of himself like a shield. “Kill it! Kill it!”
“With what?” Rimmer shouted as he stood up and scanned the room for anything that looked like it might make a good toaster eradicator.
“Come now, that’s no way to treat someone who just wants to cook you boys up some scrum-diddly-umptious toast!” Talkie waggled its toasting levers at Lister.
“Talkie!” Kryten’s voice hit an ear-splitting pitch as it echoed off the corridor walls. He ran into the sleeping quarters with a frenzied percussion of clomping metal footfalls. “You promised you were going to stay away from Mr Lister and Mr Rimmer!”
The toaster swung its head around and raised its tiny arms in a shrug. “I was just checking to see if they wanted any toast!”
“Kryten, man. What the smeg is going on? How did that thing get here?” Lister pointed an accusing finger at the toaster.
“I am so sorry Mr Lister, sir! He promised that he wasn’t going to bother anyone about toast! I never imagined he’d come in here and trouble the two of you, especially during your… ahem… private time together.”
Rimmer suddenly remembered that he was stark naked, turned red, snatched the pillow away from Lister and held it demurely over his pelvis. “Bother us!? The damned thing was trying to climb into bed with us!”
“I just wanted to make sure all of your toasterly needs were being satisfied!” Talkie said in a sing-song voice as he twirled in a small circle on his tracks.
“It wasn’t anything to do with toast that I was looking to have satisfied!” Rimmer barked as he glared at the appliance.
“What the smeg have you done Krytes?” Lister said as he gawped at the spinning toaster.
“Oh, sir. It’s really terribly embarrassing.”
“You're embarrassed?!” Rimmer shouted as he clutched the pillow tighter against his crotch.
“You know what’s embarrassing?” Talkie said brightly, “Showing up to this party without any toast! Shall I make some for everyone?” He gestured wide with his tiny metal hands.
“Oh be quiet, you.” Kryten shook his head in frustration as he leaned down and flipped a switch on the toaster who fell blessedly silent.
“Kryten, man.” Lister sighed as he rubbed his forehead in his hands. “Would you please explain to me, what the smeg is going on? What’s that thing doing here anyway? I chucked him down a rubbish chute years ago, back on Red Dwarf!”
Kryten looked sheepish as he twiddled his rubbery fingers together. “I found him in Mr Cat’s belongings sir.”
“The Cat?” asked Rimmer who had finally had the presence of mind to make his uniform rematerialize and tossed the pillow back to Lister.
“Yes, sir. I’ve been helping him with his laundry ever since he had that nasty bout of hairballs a few weeks ago. I came across the toaster in his ‘shiny red things’ pile in his closet.”
“But why d’you want the smegging thing? We’ve already got another toaster, one that doesn’t make it a point to hassle people about toast every minute of their lives! And why’d you give him little arms and tracks to get around on?” Lister shuddered as he clutched the pillow to his chest. “The thing was creepy enough before, now it’s like a smegging nightmare!”
“Well,” Kryten’s lips dropped into a frown as he stared at the floor. “To be perfectly honest Mr Lister, sir. I’ve been a bit lonely ever since you and Mr Rimmer started...” Kryten’s chest gave a tiny heave. “Fiddling around with one another’s in and out bits.”
“Oh for god’s sake. Not this again.” Rimmer grumbled as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“Lay off of him, Rimmer.” Lister sighed as he looked at Kryten.
“I thought that he might serve as some sort of a companion to keep me company while you’re otherwise… occupied, sir.”
“But Krytes, the thing’s a complete and utter nutter. All he thinks about is toast.”
“Well this is the embarrassing part, sir.” Kryten dropped his rubbery head as he continued. “I thought I might be able to teach him to break his programming, like you did for me. Teaching me how to lie and deceive and cheat, why it’s the greatest thing anyone’s ever done for me, sir. I know I’m just a mechanoid and I couldn’t possibly do as good a job as you, but I thought I could at least try.”
“But you’re not like him Krytes. You’re practically human. He’s just a smegging appliance. He only cost 19.99 dollarpounds. He can’t learn and change the way that you can.”
“I know that, sir. But I’d hate to give up on a fellow mechanical being, simply because they weren’t as sophisticated, and didn’t have as high a price tag as I did.”
Rimmer snorted, “Oh yes. You’re just the supreme ruler of sophistication. We should call you King Khazi.”
“You’re not helping, Rimmer!” Lister glared at the hologram before swinging his head back to the distressed mechanoid. “But you don’t get it, Krytes. All he cares about is toast, man. I’ve lived with him, there’s no reasoning with him. I chucked him down the chute because I couldn’t take any more of it. He’ll keep us all up, night and day, wanting to make toast. Nothing’ll stop him.”
“Oh please, sir. Just let me have a chance. Look how much you managed to change me! Watch this, sir.” Kryten cleared his throat and stood up tall. “You know what I really can’t stand? Mopping! It’s my least favorite thing ever!” The mechanoid’s voice rose and fell in intonation like a kindergartener reciting lines for a Christmas pageant. “There’s no one in the world who hates mopping as much as I do! No sir!” He turned to Lister, a grin spreading his face to its limits. “You see that, sir? I don’t hate mopping at all! Just look how much you’ve taught me! Why when you first found me on the Nova 5, I’d never have been capable of telling such a blatant falsehood!”
Lister groaned and dropped his head into the pillow. “Fine, Krytes.”
Rimmer gawped at Lister, “Are you serious? You’re just going to let him keep that thing?”
Lister lifted his head from the pillow and shot a glare at Rimmer before he looked back at Kryten.
“Oh, thank you Mr Lister, sir!” Kryten clapped his hands together with joy before bending down to scoop the toaster off the floor.
“Just do us a favor, yeah? Keep the little bleeder out of the sleeping quarters!”
“Not to worry, sir! I’ll keep him on a tight leash! I promise that you won’t even know he’s here!” Kryten affectionately cuddled the toaster to his chest plate as he stomped out of the quarters.
Rimmer turned to look at Lister slowly as the door to their quarters swished closed. His face was pinched as he clasped his hands in front of him in mock delight. “Excellent job, Lister. Fantastic job, Lister. This is exactly what I’ve always wanted: a gluten-obsessed freak on wheels hell-bent on stuffing our faces with toast.”
Lister flopped down on the bed in surrender. “C’mon, man. What was I supposed to say to him? Did you see the look on his face? He was like a kid with a puppy that followed him home.”
“And you’re the sucker who takes one look at those puppy dog eyes and can’t say no,” Rimmer said with a smirk.
“Yeah, and you’re the bastard with the heart of stone who wants to call the RSPCA.” Lister pushed himself up on the palms of his hands and gave the hologram a look of reproach.
“Well it’s on you if that thing slowly kills us by jamming bread down our esophaguses while we’re asleep,” Rimmer grumbled as he sat back on the edge of the bed. “We should start sleeping with a cricket bat under our pillows.”
“Maybe it’ll be fine,” Lister said. “Maybe Kryten’s got a point and he’ll be able to help the thing after all?”
“Yes, and maybe the Cat will eventually earn his PhD. in string theory, but it’s not bloody likely.”
“Hey, he’s pretty good with string. I’ve seen him catch it loads of times.” Lister grinned at his own joke as he slid across the mattress and wrapped his arms around the hologram. “Look, I feel kind of bad about Kryten. We have been spending a lot of time together, and Cat’s never been much company to him. I don’t want him to be lonely. Maybe this’ll help?”
“You’re a pushover, Lister.” The hologram grumbled as he leaned his head against Lister’s shoulder.
“Pushover, eh?” Lister pulled himself away from the hologram suddenly and Rimmer fell onto the bed with a soft plop. “I’ll show you a pushover,” Lister grinned wickedly as he pinned Rimmer’s shoulders down and straddled his hips.
“I see that your mood’s not been dampened at all by that little metal bastard.”
“Nope,” Lister shook his head before leaning down and grazing his lips across Rimmer’s. The hologram shivered underneath him.
“Well be it on your head if that thing comes in here again.”
“Stop worrying so much, man. It’ll be fine.”